Health watchdog chief’s exit a ‘red flag’
The departure of a health watchdog's chief executive should raise red flags, the shadow health minister said yesterday.
Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said that the “removal” of Tawanna Wedderburn from the Bermuda Health Council was done “with no proper explanation”.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin told the House of Assembly: “We have had only the vaguest of statements as to why she has left her post, which is extremely unsatisfactory.”
She asked Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, to provide a “fulsome public explanation”.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “Mr and Mrs Bermuda deserve to know why someone in such a key position has suddenly left her post.”
It was announced earlier this month that Ms Wedderburn had left the BHeC.
The council confirmed “the separation of employment” between Ms Wedderburn and the organisation on December 7.
The BHeC thanked Ms Wedderburn for her service and wished her “every success in her future endeavours” but gave no reason for her departure.
It added that it would “soon” announce the appointment of an acting chief executive and declined to comment further.
A government spokeswoman said yesterday the health ministry was grateful to Ms Wedderburn for her “passionate commitment to help patients and the public” while at the BHeC.
She added: “However, it would be wholly inappropriate for the ministry to comment publicly on matters pertaining to any individual's employment.”
Ms Gordon-Pamplin added that the Government had to “get to grips” with increases in healthcare costs, including “the overutilisation of some services, as well as issues like obesity and diabetes”.
She warned: “In failing to do that, the Minister of Health is just passing the buck down to future generations.”
Ms Gordon-Pamplin said that Ms Wedderburn had been “acutely aware of the need to control the costs of services in order to help keep the cost of insurance down”.
She added that healthcare costs in Bermuda were predicted to hit $1 billion in five years.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin added: “For a population of a little over 60,000, that is just unsustainable.”
Ewart Brown, a former premier, blamed the BHeC and its fee cuts for the closure of his CT scanner unit at his Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith's.
Dr Brown accused the council last January of a political “vendetta” against him and singled out several members, including Ms Wedderburn.
The decision, taken under the previous One Bermuda Alliance Government, was later moderated by its successor, the Progressive Labour Party administration.
The Bermuda Hospitals Board and private services such as Dr Brown's were hit by the fee cuts, which later resulted in payouts from the Government.
Ms Wilson later said payments to Dr Brown's two practices were likely to exceed $1.2 million.
She told Parliament last month that BHB had been compensated by about $1.86 million up to March 2018.
Increased fees for diagnostic imaging came into force at the start of last month.
The Brown-Darrell Clinic announced this week that it would restart high-tech CT scans on Monday.